Product Review

Bella-Dura Contract Fabric Touts Its Green Credentials

Polypropylene (part of the broader polyolefin family of polymers) used to be thought of as a “cheap” fabric. Not only inexpensive, it had a plastic-like feel and was difficult to dye, flammable, susceptible to damage from ultraviolet light, and lacking in resilience. But polypropylene also offered performance advantages not found in most synthetic fibers—it is tough, stain and chemical resistant, inert, lightweight, and uses less energy and water to manufacture than nylon or polyester.

American Fibers and Yarn, producers of the fiber, and Wearbest Sil-Tex Mills, weavers of the Bella-Dura fabric, have built a product that takes advantage of polypropylene’s strengths while mitigating its weaknesses, starting with the Bella-Dura dyeing process. Most fabrics are dyed only on the outer portion of the fiber, using a method that wastes water and energy and makes the dyes vulnerable to wear. But Bella-Dura is “solution dyed,” with colorants added before the fiber is extruded. The dye becomes part of the fiber and cannot be washed away. The resulting colors can withstand cleaning with bleach and resist fading, giving Bella-Dura an AATCC-16 lightfastness rating (which measures a fabric’s resistance to color fading) of over 1,500 hours, far surpassing the Association for Contract Textiles (ACT) Performance Guideline rating of 40 hours for indoor upholstery and 400 for outdoor.

Published October 29, 2008